SCERAC’s unconstitutional request

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Now that the first ruling is in on SCERAC’s lawsuit is in, it’s time for St. Cloud Educational Rights Advocacy Council (SCERAC) to lick its wounds, then regroup. The arguments put forth by the Rinke-Noonan Law Firm on SCERAC’s behalf were deemed insufficient.

Specifically, “Stearns County District Court Judge Kris Davick-Halfen on Wednesday denied the advocacy group’s motion for a preliminary injunction and granted the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit”, writing “Throughout its filings, (the plaintiff) has made a passionate and thoughtful argument as to why the governor and legislature should provide the St. Cloud school district with the additional funding it requests. Nevertheless, this court cannot grant the relief (the plaintiff) requests and must grant (the defendant’s) motion.”

Later in the opinion, it states “(The plaintiff) does not allege that the St. Cloud District receives less funding per pupil than other school districts. Instead, the … complaint alleges that St. Cloud School District would be able to do more with additional funds. This does not constitute a violation of the Education Clause.”

Later, Davick-Halfen notes this:

When discussing the denial of the preliminary injunction, Davick-Halfen cited a Minnesota Supreme Court case where “a court should examine whether granting the (plaintiff’s) request would ‘maintain the status quo until the case can be decided on its merits.'” “The relief that (the plaintiff) is requesting in this temporary injunction would be a substantial change from what has been occurring,” Davick-Halfen states.

What SCERAC was asking the court to do is order the legislative and executive branches to do something that they chose not to do. This is prohibited by the separation of powers clause. Simply put, Minnesota’s Constitution doesn’t give the Judicial Branch the authority to intervene in the appropriations process. That’s left to the political branches. It isn’t left to the judicial branch.